This new series of pieces focus on the traditional ‘beast’ of folk tales. I hope to shed light on the beast’s story, and discuss how the traditional hero can actually be seen as the intruder. By switching roles, I want the viewer to empathize with the newfound protagonist I create. I want my series to appeal to children as well as adults, and so I have paired each story up with an illustration and a toy that celebrates the beast’s actual beauty.
The story of Rikki Tikki Tavi emphasizes the ‘heroic’ behavior of Rikki the mongoose. The traditional folk tale portrays Rikki as the hero, when in fact he intrudes on the cobras Nag and Nagaina’s original home. I want to emphasize this situation, and by making friendly, interactive toys out of the ‘bad guys’ in the story I hope that children will look into the new perspectives of things.
My process involved sketching a base plan layout for each toy, constructing the sizing. I sewed the body skin first, using two cotton sheet fabrics and stitching them together, inside out and then flipping as to keep the seam from being seen.
Then I sewed the head together, leaving a small flap in the neck to stuff the toy with polyester filling. I inserted copper coated aluminum wire into the body of each toy, parting at the hood so it would surround either side. I used felt to wrap around the wire to make a sort of coating, and then taped the filling around to make sure the wire would not move freely in the body, so you would be unable to feel it while playing with the toy.
On to the extra fun part – painting!!! And TA-DA!!!